Last October at its annual conference in Boston, Comsol released the latest version of its engineering and scientific software environment for modeling and simulating physics-based systems, Comsol Multiphysics 3.4.
Perhaps the most notable new feature of version 3.4 is multicore processor support, which provides engineers and scientists with additional performance, solver speed, and accuracy when performing multiphysics simulations. By leveraging multicore processors and shared-memory parallelism, each step of the simulation workflow—meshing, assembly, and solving—can now be executed in parallel.
The software uses the maximum number of cores available on a system and allows users to have complete control over the number of processors dedicated to their simulations.
Thermal boundary layers, charged double-layers in ac/dc applications, and viscous boundary layers in fluid-flow applications are now able to be meshed more efficiently, with greater accuracy, and with less memory consumption thanks to a new boundary layer meshing feature.
Comsol’s Heat Transfer Module benefitted from the introduction of boundary layer meshing and through improvements to Comsol’s solver technology. Boundary layer meshing provides greater accuracy, yet it requires fewer elements for simulating electronic cooling, heat exchangers, and heat losses to solid structures in mechanical design. This module includes the ability to model 3-D surface-to-surface radiation using a 2-D axisymmetric modeling domain.
Solver performance for fluid dynamics also received an upgrade in Version 3.4 with the addition of new iterative methods. Galerkin Least Squares stabilization techniques now complement Comsol’s iterative solvers, allowing large fluid-flow problems with millions of degrees of freedom to be computed.
A new segregated solver reduces memory consumption when computing large problems such as fluid-structure interaction or wave propagation in thermally deformed structures. Fluid-flow problems are now solved up to five times faster when compared with previous versions, according to Comsol.
Post-processing tools for computing geometric properties such as volume, area, center of gravity, and moment of inertia have also been added.
Users of Comsol’s Chemical Engineering and Heat Transfer Modules can now include variable-density flow and free convection in their simulations. These capabilities will be helpful when solving coupled flow and conjugate heat transfer problems often encountered in electronic cooling and heat exchanger analyses.
For applications such as microfluidics, multispecies convection, and reacting flows, Comsol has been enhanced with additional multiphysics modeling interfaces for turbulent and laminar flow with variable densities due to variations in composition.
A new interface has been added to the Comsol Reaction Engineering Lab for running nonlinear parameter estimations on multiple sets of experimental data, making it possible to select which parameters to estimate and which to keep constant in each estimation run.
The ac/dc Module’s new SPICE user interface makes it easy to build and run Comsol models as part of SPICE-based circuit simulations. Electronics, electrical components, geophysics, and electrochemistry applications also benefit from small-signal analysis for ac impendance studies. Users can model electric motors and generators through a new interface supporting periodic boundary conditions and sector symmetry.
Comsol Multiphysics 3.4 runs on Windows, Linux, Solaris, and Apple workstations with a minimum of 1 GB of memory.